Category Archives: Miniature

A catch-all for table miniature gaming, 3d printed terrain, and other oddities.

Adjusting Terrain for Miniatures Bases

Antenocite’s Workshop’s post on how big should doors be, covered the sizes for 18mm, 15mm, 10mm, and 6mm miniatures. I wanted to do the same for 25mm, 28mm & 30mm miniatures, but to include buildings, windows, and other common objects as well. Adapting Figure Scale from Wikipedia I’ve built a reference table, but as I noted in a previous post this is not exact.

Scale Figure Ht mm/foot
1:61 30 mm 5 mm/ft
1:64 28 mm 4.76 mm/ft
1:73.2 25 mm 4.16 mm/ft
1:76 25 mm (old) 4 mm/ft

Now the only problem is the base the miniature is on. it’s a standard 3 mm addition to all the heights, the door article explains the why. So I’ll be adding 3 mm to all the heights , below,

Wall height

Most rooms tend to have an 8 foot (2438.4 mm), 10 foot (3048 mm), or 12 foot (3657. mm) ceiling.

Scale 8 ft Ceiling 10 ft Ceiling 12 ft Ceiling
1:61 43 mm 53 mm 63 mm
1:64 41 mm 51 mm 60 mm
1:73.2 36 mm 45 mm 53 mm
1:76 35 mm 43 mm 51 mm

Door sizes

Looking at the standard 2040 mm high by 820 mm wide door, the numbers boil down to.

Scale Height Width
1:61 36 mm 13 mm
1:64 35 mm 13 mm
1:73.2 31 mm 11 mm
1:76 30 mm 11 mm

Windows

Windows tend to align with the top of the doors, so use the number above. The common height above ground is 3 feet (914.4 mm). The widths vary a great deal, with windows range from 19¼ in (488 mm) wide up to 69¾ in (1770 mm) wide.

Scale Height Width
1:61 18 mm 8 mm - 29 mm
1:64 17 mm 8 mm - 28 mm
1:73.2 15 mm 7 mm - 24 mm
1:76 15 mm 7 mm - 23 mm

Tables & Workbenches

Scale Height
1:61 14 mm - 23 mm
1:64 13 mm - 22 mm
1:73.2 12 mm - 19 mm
1:76 12 mm - 19 mm

Chairs

Scale Height
1:61 9 mm - 11 mm
1:64 8 mm - 11 mm
1:73.2 8 mm - 10 mm
1:76 8 mm - 10 mm

Above are common sizes for some other common wargames figures, but it’s not everything. For all of the tables of data, I’ve worked from modern Anthropometric and Ergonomic sources. Which is great of modern and near future terrain features. But when creating objects for medieval (or fantasy) you will need to consider historical references or to create the look right through educated guess work. And for Sci-fi, you will have to stick to the design principles by considering it’s function and form. (ie what it will be used for and how to make it look futuristic)

The principle is the calculate the scaled height of the object or feature and then add 3 mm for the miniature base to create the illusion of the correct scale. But do not add the 3 mm to the width of objects as it will distort the size when compared to the miniature.

Miniature Scale, Rescaling and design

What is scale and why is it important for miniatures? It seams like an obvious question, but with miniature gaming it is important to know the scale of what you are creating, how to best manipulate scale to your advantage and to know how much space the gaming table will take up.

With miniature gaming there are two numbers to consider, the scale and the figure height. The scale is the ratio the object is shrunk and the figure height is the approximate height of a 173 cm male (5′ 8” in the imperial system). Some of the common scales are 5 mm (1:300) or 6 mm (1:285) used for micro-armour games such as Battletech and Epic. Along with the 25 mm & 28 mm using in RPGS, like D&D or Pathfinder, and Wargames, like Warhammer40K, Warmachine, or Infinity.

However, this is where things can get complex. GW in their aim to make their minis more impressive made the 25 mm Heroic scale, which is slightly larger that 25 mm and then did the same with the 28 mm Heroic, has lead to some variations in scale. This has been common among miniature companies Even Wikipedia does not agree with it’s self with with 28 mm being 1:56 and 1:64.

There are two useful number to have when designing miniatures or terrain. The first is the figure height, which can be found by dividing the height of a average person (1730 mm) by the scale. And the second, is the scaled foot, which is found by dividing a foot (304.8 mm) by the scale.

Rescaling

It’s all about scale includes these two scale conversion charts (below), and covers why scale is important. In the end the only question should be does it look right and for 28mm anything between 1:56 up to 1:72 should be ok.

Converting between common miniature scales.

Converting between common miniature scales.

A simpler conversion chart with train and miniature scales.
A simpler conversion chart with train and miniature scales.

Designing to scale

Since we are designing miniatures and models for gaming. We need to look at Anthropometric, or the measurement of humans. There is a wealth of information in this field, although most of it is only useful in defining the common sizes of people or our miniatures. It’s the application of this idea, Ergonomics, that becomes very useful because it forms the foundations used in the design of products (industrial design), clothing design, houses (architecture), among any others design fields. So in a nut shell everything we use is designed for the human scale and changing scales by guess work can lead to time wasted on a modelling project.

it is also worth looking at the designs of the experts, such as Bauhaus, a German school of design founded in the 1920s that has influenced the modern world. The most well known item to come out of the school is the Bauhaus chair.

Of all the chairs to come out of the Bauhaus, this is the one that commonly comes to mind. Designed my Marcel Breuer, the Wasilly chair is a mix of steel and leather, using no more material than is absolutely needed, while providing maximum comfort. It's a design you'll still find in homes today.
The Bauhaus Chair

Scaling Vehicles

The next step up from everyday objects tend to be vehicle, and Antenociti’s Workshop covers the subject in such excellent design in If I base my figures how big should my vehicles be, that why would I try to do it here.

Also I’d be considering the rescaling tables above to hunt out die-cast kits for cars, and even scale model trains for terrain and buildings.

Scaling Building

Finally there are building, which are usually designed around people and sometimes vehicles. When working on architecture the placement of Windows & Door, and how big should they be.

And finally, if you add a base to your miniature is changes the look of everything.

 

The Process for Designing Terrain

How do you go about designing good miniature terrain to conduct battles on? Is there a process you can or should follow? When trying to answer these questions I tend to examine what others do and then apply it to my own design process.

Below is the design process that Battleboards.co.uk follows when creating their boards. The finished products are wonderful set pieces for miniature games, however, as I said earlier I’d prefer small tile-able terrain that is easily packed away. However, the design on paper, refine on computer, before committing to physical thing is a excellent fundamental practice.

I tend to start with sketches on paper, as I build up the idea. That way bad or ill considered ideas can be left, and any potential problems can be found before building a large expensive mistake.

It’s something I remember from Engineering, that for a $1000 product if you catch a defect after the sale stage it costs $2500 in product recall and such. But in the design stage it’s $0.03 

Design Considerations

So it pays well to deeply consider how to design anything, and in this case miniature terrain. They can be broadly split in to the two groups of form and function. Form or Aesthetics is the consideration of the look of an object, where Function is more focuses on it’s operation and use. A good place to start are Design elements and principles, and the Engineering Design Process.

There are a bunch of things you should think about before making or buying terrain. These questions should be focused on things like;

  • How you plan on using it?
  • What your budget it?
  • The time needed to make it or acquire the parts?
  • What scale of miniature is it designed for?
  • And others I can not think of at this point…

So for this project I’m setting out what I’m aiming for.

  1. Storage. Do to limited space I need to be able to easily store the parts
  2. Quality. I want have it look good and to make good stuff, because If I can help it, I don’t want to do it all again, or to spend time repairing it.
  3. Scale. I play Warmachine, Warhmmer40K, and Patherfinder/D&D amoung others. All of which tend to be 25-28mm scale.
  4. Variability. I like to be able to mix-up my terrain to suit the individual situation or scenario, because I get bored easily with the same tactical battle.

Designing Tiling Terrain

I’ve been reading Observations of the Fox’s posts about Hexagonal Geomorphs. I’ve looked in this direction before and have played games like Magic Realm (on Boardgamegeek), Battletech, and Star Fleet Battles. And I created a SFB Hex map a few year back, which is up on deviantArt. The Hex-map technique allows an easy simplification of the game map into discrete elements, while allowing more options than the square grid-map. However, with a shift in miniature war-gaming to the inch-based measuring system, using hexes just feels like old times, in both a good and a bad way.

Ultimate Table Top Terrain collection of Hexagonal Terrain does make me drool and shows a different way of using hexes. As large scale terrain pieces that interlock to allow the miniature battles to happen over them, without binding the game to the hex grid. It also allows the army to be set up on one hex for transport, and for the terrain to be (relativity) easily packeted away at the end of the game. Good for places where space is a premium.

So, here is a summary of Michael Wenman‘s series on Geomorphs and helps explore the idea of terrain design for miniature games;

It’s also worth examining ways of making interlocking Sci-Fi walls, which sit on flat cardboard floor tiles. This technique of using card pegs or wedges is one of the simplest I’ve seen. In my 3D Printed designs I’ve started with small pegs that clip into place, but found that they tended to break off, and I’ve moved onto a similar technique of using interlocking joints.

It is worth noting that what ever system you want to use that it fits you needs. For myself I will be looking for the following;

  • Multiple configurations to allow many scenarios to be created. Si I’ll be looking at pieces.
  • Can be easily packed away and transported. So it will most likely be 1 to 2 foot in size.

 

Ulthwé Wave Serpent

As stated before I’m fan of the Eldar (aka Elves IN SPACE!) Anyone who’s seen the original The Muppets TV series will know how it sounds, and for those that don’t there is youtube…

I like the idea of the Eldar as much as the visual look of the miniatures with their runes of power. However, I prefer to avoid the 40K game. The way the game is played in short shape battles with defined boarders and objectives does not suit an ancient race slowly dying out wondering the stars on their own craftworlds. Any species with a long history knows that, if you meet strength in opposition it will end in destruction. Any psychic beings worth their minds does not engage in direct conflict, but subtly redirect their opponents into their weapons, or into other monsters. Regardless of my thoughts on the game the miniatures look cool and the few I’ve painted look good.

Ulthwé Wave Serpent with Jetbike support

Ulthwé Wave Serpent with three Jetbike in toe.

Ulthwé Wave Serpent
Close up of the Ulthwé Wave Serpent looking at the engines and intakes.
Close up of a Ulthwé Wave Serpent
Close up of the Ulthwé Wave Serpent with a focus on the back hatch and engines.

Stormblade Infantry Bases

I’m currently working on a set of Stormblade Infantry for the local Journeyman league I’m part of. Here’s a breakdown of the bases.

  1. A coat of Charred Brown (72.045)
  2. Lines of Leather Brown (72.040)
  3. A layer of Secret Weapon’s Brown Fine Ballast.
  4. Dots of Charred Brown, Leather Brown, or Tan (72.066) mixed 1:1 with water
Stormblade Infantry bases
Stormblade Infantry bases

More when I finish the Stormblades…

Intro to Warmachine and Hordes

After a life time of avoiding Warhammer 40K I did play for about 6 months and like most I like the fluff and model design, but the gaming group I joined moved on to War Machine. The following thread does sum up my thoughts. I’m enjoying the painting of models and the tactical game.  To get a better idea of What is the game like, which provides a good summary with an overview of the factions in the Hordes & War Machine games. What they play like, covers the factions along with common misconceptions.

In an intensely tactical game like War Machine there are a number of tactical considerations for the starting wargamer that are important.

  • Whether to go first?
    • Going first can jam the board, and get the first charges.
    • Going second can choose the best terrainreact to your opponent’s deployment choices, start closer to the scenario scoring elements, and start scoring first.
  • Model placement to remain with command range, but avoid too many blast causalities, and handle charges.
  • The measurement of distances. When you can measure and what to look for.

Resources

Warmachine & Hordes – Quickstart rules to get you started with twin games of Warmachine and Hordes. There is also a Journeyman League, which introduces the game in easy stages in the form of a friendly competition. Also check out the tips for a successful Journeyman League.

Battle College – A great resources to get an overview of a model or unit with additional thoughts on it’s use. Also look at 1d4Chan, which has many pages looking at the tactics of the various factions

History of Miniature Wargaming Rules

A while ago I got curious about War Gaming, in particular it’s history. Having been an irregular war gamer for the last *many* years and cut my teeth on Battletech. Then expanding into Warhammer 40K, Necurmunda, Space Crusade & Space Hulk. I’d like to try my hand at making a board game or war game of a similar nature. So I was wondering did they all come from? How did they evolve to what we know now, and what influenced that process?

The wikipedia page on Wargaming, giving some insight about hobby and how it started. With the a set of rules been publishing in the early 20th century,  with H. G. Wells’ Little Wars and Jane‘s naval war rules in 1913. It’s also worth noting that Jane also publish All the World’s Aircraft, which is a great research for aircraft of types and is regularly updated.

Little Wars is a set of rules for playing with toy soldiers, written by H. G. Wells in 1913.
Little Wars by H. G. Wells.

John Curry the editor of The History of Wargaming Project has a few videos outlining the project (See part 1 & part 2), and an interesting presentation of the Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame, which at it’s peak had huge games of 60+ players and did not look like the hobby as I know it now. This was a more social game with people playing on a Friday or Thursday night in large dance halls.

RPGs Split off

In 1971 Gary Gygax & Jeff Perren published the miniature wargame Chainmail, which lead to Dungeons & Dragons and the RPG explosion of today. However, it is worth remembering that most RPGs model themselves after D&D and as a result have a strong tactical basis for their game play. It’s only later, in early 1990, that more narrative-based RPGs emerged with games such as Whitewolf’s Vampire.

Chainmail is a medieval miniature wargame created by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren.
Chainmail

Computer based Wargames

A decade later saw the adaption og Turned-based War Games (See Turn-based strategy (TBS)Turn-based tactics (TBT)) on the computer, with Blue Bytes Battle isles a personal favorite. These in turn led to Real Time Stratagy (RTS) Games, like Dune 2000 and Command & Conquer.

 

Command & Conquer is a 1995 real-time strategy video game developed by Westwood Studios
Command & Conquer

So going back to the start of all this has given me a better idea of these style of games. Along the way I’ve found some cool projects and some great ideas for my own games, and should aid me in writing one.

3D Bridges built!

About a month ago I created a 3D model of a sandstone bridge, put it up on shapeways. The printed model only took a week & half to arrive (from the other side of the planet). Now that I’ve proofed the physical copy, it’s up for sale on shapeways.

Overall, I’m happy with this model. Some of the colours are a little darker than expected, but not insanely so. The topology needed some correcting. You can see the line of bricks in the center of the bridge.

set for scale, these 3 miniatures give an idea of the size of the bridge
set for scale, these 3 miniatures give an idea of the size of the bridge
Goblin on the birdge
Goblin on the birdge
Soldier defends the bridge
Soldier defends the bridge

 

 

The Bridge
The Bridge

This render of the finished bridge shows the corrected brick tiling. the terrain fearture is available in sandstone and grey stone

 

 

Pixar’s RenderMan is free

Pixar have made RenderMan free for Non-Commerical use and have dropped the prices on their amazing render engine. NoFilmSchool have a good overview of the opportunity, to Hone Your VFX Skills for Free. The thing I find interesting is that it’s not really free, since you are investing time in their render engine as apposed to other renders. However, it does provide the opportunity to access RenderMan and build up a demo reel.